P1030253 (640x480)On Sunday we took a drive up to the Gold Lakes area to check on the current snow conditions.  It was a beautiful, partly cloudy day for a drive up Hwy 89 through Sierraville, and then onto Hwy 49 towards Sierra City.

While driving through the Sierraville grasslands and pasturage, we saw a small patch of camas lilies growing on the other side of a barb-wired fence.  The flower buds of the lilies had not blossomed yet, so they looked like a cluster of purple-blue spikes.  In a nearby pond, we saw mallards, pintails, and bufflehead ducks.

As we neared Sierra City, we stopped in a pull-out about a half mile up Gold Lakes Hwy. to take a look at the snow still covering the Sierra Buttes.  The upper part of Gold Lakes Hwy between Bassetts and Gray Eagle was still closed due to snow.

So we headed back towards Sierra City and stopped 3.5 miles west of Bassetts, and took a one mile out-and-back trail to Love Falls.  The trail from the highway to the falls is part of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Along the trail we found branched soloman’s seal, trail plant, and Shelton’s violet, a beautiful lemon-yellow flower, blooming along the trail.

We also spotted a red-breasted sapsucker working on a nesting cavity in a quaking aspen while mountain chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches flitted about in the branches above.

Love Falls drops through a narrow canyon, falling over a number of rocky shelves and ledges before flowing beneath a wooden bridge over the north Yuba River.  This section of the PCT then switch-backs up the hillside and in another ten miles reaches Jackson Meadows.  Since we were just out doing a little reconnaissance for future hikes, we walked back to our car.

So if you decide to head up towards Sierraville and/or Gray Eagle in the near future, you might want to check out Love Falls.  Tom

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